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First Time Sex at Fifty Plus

First Time Sex at Fifty Plus
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Even if you can’t recall where you put your keys, we know you remember the first time you had sex. No doubt you have equally solid recall of initial intimacy with the person who proved to be your long-time partner. First time sex is momentous at any age, so if it’s been awhile since you’ve “done the deed,” it’s natural for those bedroom butterflies to come fluttering back. Here, sexologist Gloria Brame, Ph.D. (, author of Sex for Grownups, addresses everything you want to know about starting over sexually at mid-life (and aren’t afraid to ask!).

What are the right reasons to have sex at 50+?

In short, the best reason to get busy is because you really want to—but there’s a catch. “Changes in libido happen with aging, not just your hormones but your brain chemistry,” says Brame. “So you may not feel the same oomph of desire you did in your twenties.” That may mean psyching yourself up to get in the mood, and please do, because sex is good for you! “There are demonstrated long-range medical benefits—including lowered risk of heart disease and some cancers—to regular frequent orgasm,” says Brame.

What are the wrong reasons to have sex 50+?

Caving to carnal coercion is always a bad idea. “Consent makes for good sex, and enthusiasm makes for great sex,” says Brame. “Bad sex is sex you don’t want to have.” So don’t give in to pressure, whether from society, a prospective partner or even your own sense of something to prove. Be mature enough to wait or just say no to anything you aren’t ready to do.

How long should you know someone before having sex? Does the third date rule still apply?

The third date rule has always been an arbitrary benchmark. You’ve earned the right to make your own rules and needn’t worry about what people think. What’s crucial, though, is to discuss relationship expectations before you hit the sheets. Some people may want “just” sex, while others believe intimacy means commitment and exclusivity. “You’ve both got to be on the same page, compatible in your moral attitudes, your level of desire and your comfort zone,” Brame says.

How do you express attraction to a new person?

“At 50+, people tend to start feeling invisible,” says Brame. “So sincere flattery is a great way to communicate that you find someone desirable.” If you’re rusty when it comes to flirty banter, try being direct: “You have a beautiful smile,” or simply “I have to tell you that I find you very attractive.” Your compliments needn’t be physical—tell a potential partner that his/her intellect is a turn-on. Or admit to what someone stirs up in you, a la: “You make me feel like a high school kid again!” And remember, a touch may be worth a thousand words. Reaching for his/her hand or touching his/her shoulder are perfect preludes to further physical contact.

How should you deal with inevitable nervousness?

Before the big date, Brame suggests doing what you’d ordinarily do to banish butterflies, be it relaxing in a hot bath, working out, meditating or—to truly take the edge off sexually—masturbating. She discourages liquid courage, since alcohol could interfere with performance. Being comfortable—in your clothing and setting—also helps reduce jitters. Or try the “Gimme a kiss” approach Alvy Singer successfully plied with Annie Hall (see the classic clip here:

How can you keep your expectations realistic?

In case you’ve forgotten, one of the best indications about how the sex will be happens the instant your lips touch. “If he or she is a good kisser, you’re golden,” says Brame. Then, accept that at midlife nobody’s body is the same as it was twenty years ago, so rather than concentrate on how your partner looks, put the emphasis on how you make each other feel. “The benefit of being older is you know what you’re doing in bed, and so does your partner,” reminds Brame. Plus, practice makes more pleasurable, so try, try again!

Should you plan the encounter, or be spontaneous?

Scheduled sex may not seem romantic, and if you’re at a more laidback time of life, you ought to be able to go with flow. That said, be pragmatic if erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness is an issue. Think of Viagra and/or a good lubricant as your sexual insurance policy. And be sure to use condoms. “Since immune systems become less effective with age, you’re at a higher risk of contracting STDs,” says Brame. In fact, recent research by the West Midlands Health Protection Agency in England found that STD rates had more than doubled among people over age 45. You’re old enough to protect yourself, so do it.



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An all-around wordsmith, Nina Malkin is a journalist, novelist, copywriter and memoirist. She’s also an avid collector of lovely things from eras past—read her musings at